The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/06/12 at 02:31 PM ET
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
• From the Wings:
KRIS DRAPER VICTORIOUS IN OPENING ROUND OF OPERATION: BOBBLEHEAD – ALUMNI EDITION
… Online Balloting Recommences Tomorrow at http://DetroitRedWings.com …
Detroit, MI… The ballots have been tallied and Hockeytown fan favorite Kris Draper has emerged victorious from the opening round of voting in Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition, an ongoing campaign charged with determining which former Red Wings greats will be immortalized in the form of a collectible 6 ½ inch polyresin figurine during the upcoming NHL season. Draper’s bobblehead will be distributed to 7,500 lucky Joe Louis Arena patrons at a select 2012-13 Red Wings home game.
Round 2 of Operation: Bobblehead – Alumni Edition will begin on Tuesday, August 7, at 12:01 p.m. Fans are able to vote by visiting DetroitRedWings.com and casting their ballots via a special form accessible through the site’s Fan Zone. Red Wings alumni in contention to have their likeness adorn a bobblehead in 2012-13 include Kirk Maltby, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sid Abel, Dino Ciccarelli, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, Ted Lindsay, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mark Howe, Igor Larionov, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Chris Osgood, Scotty Bowman and more. Write-in candidates are also encouraged.
None of the ballots cast during last week’s voting session will count towards players’ second round totals. There is no limit on how many votes fans are able to cast each week. Twitter users, meanwhile, are invited to champion their favorite player’s bobblehead candidacy by using the hashtag #OperationBobblehead throughout the duration of this campaign.
• Regarding one of the write-in candidates, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner touches on a sore subject with Wings fans in Winter Classic Alumni Showdown participant Sergei Fedorov. Regner believes that the Fedorov vs. Yzerman factor must be addressed in terms of coming to acceptance with the reasons why Fedorov left Detroit:
it’s much simpler than that—Fedorov is not Steve Yzerman, and that’s always been the rub. Whatever Fedorov achieved, it was never good enough because he wasn’t STEVIE. Fedorov felt it, and Yzerman knew it.
Yet, together they were an untouchable duo. Fedorov and Yzerman, who played together for 13 seasons, were two of the top-five centers in the entire world, and they thrived off one another. With Fedorov and Yzerman in the lineup, it was “pick your poison” because it was impossible to stop both of them. Even though they weren’t the best of friends, they respected each other enough to put everything aside when they stepped onto the ice. Without each other, they might never have reached their Hall of Fame numbers.
Fedorov is far from perfect, but when he was on, his game was as close to perfection as you could get on the ice. On separate occasions, Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky told me that Fedorov is the most talented player they’ve ever seen.
Whatever your feelings are on Fedorov, you will have the opportunity to see him wear a Red Wings sweater again this winter. He’s accepted the team’s invitation to be part of the Winter Classic festivities, which is a large step in repairing his tarnished image.
Many in the Wings organization wrote Fedorov off as if he had died when he became a Mighty Duck. They were adamant that Fedorov’s betrayal ensured he would never be welcomed back into the Red Wings family. Seems time has lessened the hurt and bitterness some high-ranking team officials felt towards No. 91. And that’s good.
For his entire life, Fedorov has been searching for acceptance. Maybe it has to do with growing up in the oppressive Soviet Union.
Whatever reason, it’s time to welcome Fedorov back home and celebrate his Red Wings career. He deserves the complete acceptance of fans here because he is and always will be one of the greatest Red Wings ever.
That desire to be “The Guy,” Fedorov’s unwillingness to harness that natural talent and his search for more than acceptance…They’re all reasons why a fantastic career never quite lived up to the expectations Fedorov was sometimes happy to shoulder and sometimes suggested he didn’t deserve to be saddled with.
• Perhaps along the Winter Classic lines, Detroithockey.net’s Clark Rasmussen offers another Winter Classic jersey concept;
• Regarding a different kind of fan participation, via RedWingsFeed...
Here’s hoping that the Wings do indeed hold their prospect tournament…
• One of the prospects who should take part in said tournament possesses tremendous natural gifts in terms of size, strength and snarl, but MLive’s Brendan Savage notes that 2012 draft pick Mike McKee may like piling up penalty minutes being mean and nasty, but that’s not going to help him acquire the kind of skill set necessary to keep up with the Wings’ system. McKee happily, well, shoulders the responsibility of being a tough guy, but regardless of whether he’s going to spend another season with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars or whether he’s (probably) going to head to Western Michigan University, he’s got to work on developing his skating and puck-moving skills:
Like it or not, fighters can still a fill a vital role for an NHL team and the Red Wings system isn’t loaded with tough guys, which is one reason they drafted McKee. Some players who fill that role fight out of necessity and others do it because they like it.
“It’s both for me,” said McKee, who turns 19 on Aug. 17. “I have no problem doing it. The biggest thing is when a guy is blessed with natural skill and guys take cheap shots at him. That can’t be happening. I’ll step in there as many times as it takes. I’m not afraid to mix it up. I’m kind of unique for the style of play I bring in here. They don’t have too many guys like me around here.”
Before spending last year in the USHL, McKee played two seasons of prep school hockey in Connecticut. He thought he made enough of an impression there to catch an NHL team’s eye after the 2010-11 season and attended the draft in Minnesota with his mother and agent. But when every NHL team passed on him, McKee was so disappointed he didn’t attend this year’s draft in Pittsburgh or even follow the proceedings on TV or the Internet. He wasn’t expecting to be selected and then he got the phone call he’d been dreaming about.
“I was content to be a free agent going through college,” said McKee, who was among 41 players at last month’s Red Wings prospects camp in Traverse City. “I didn’t talk to many teams. I didn’t talk to the Red Wings. I was taking my sister over to the grocery store (on draft day). We were doing a little shopping. I was sitting in the car and I got the phone call. I just broke down and started crying. It was a dream come true. They called me (and said), ‘Congratulations, you’re a member of the Detroit Red Wings.’ I was at a loss for words. I always felt like I could play with these guys.”
And although he was a defenseman last season, McKee said he’ll have no problem moving to forward if that’s what the Broncos and/or Red Wings ask him to do.
“I played forward growing up when I was younger in Canada,” said McKee, a native of Newmarket, Ontario. “In prep school, they threw me on ‘D.’ I can play either way. I have no problem going back and forth. Whatever is best for the team. I have no preference. If they need me to play forward, I’ll play forward. If they need me to play ‘D,’ I’ll play ‘D.’ If both goalies get hurt, I’ll put on the pads. I’m not too much of a skill guy. I go straight up and down the ice and bang bodies. I’m going to work as hard as I can and keep doing what I’m doing. Whenever God and the Red Wings think I’m ready to move up, I’m ready for that journey.”
As wonderful a first impression as McKee made upon me and the Wings in Traverse City, hard work will determine when McKee is ready to move up.
• And as I’m still recovering from a long drive and re-immersion into pollution, I haven’t been on Twitter enough today, so Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien offers an update on a player the Wings will definitely be interested in should his grievance against the New York Islanders comes to pass:
Arthur Staple reports that the NHL still hasn’t scheduled an arbitration hearing for Lubomir Visnovsky‘s grievance with the Anaheim Ducks.
The speedy defenseman is attempting to block a trade to the New York Islanders, claiming that they essentially ignored his no-trade clause.
Visnovsky’s contract actually could theoretically benefit both lower-budget teams because his cap hit ($5.6 million) is significantly higher than his $3 million salary in 2012-13.
Beyond those money concerns, “Lubo” is just a season removed from an outstanding 68-point season that attracted some Norris Trophy buzz in 2010-11. He joined the Ducks via a trade with Ryan Whitney.
The reason for the holdup is unclear. One might lean toward how unusual the situation is or point out that the NHL is busy with the CBA negotiations, though.
Update: Whoops, I plum forgot:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.